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Starting out in business and founding a start-up is difficult when you have no money. Without the finances to get your business going, in some cases, it can be almost impossible to get your idea off the ground.
However, with the right know-how, you can become a successful entrepreneur with no money.
In today’s article, I am going to share several of the best ways to start your business without any money.
Identify Your Strengths
If you don’t have money to start your business, you still need a foundation on which to build. My advice is to focus on the strengths and assets you already have. You might think you have none, but I guarantee that you have something to offer!
These strengths and assets will act as a guideline, showing you the path to a successful business launch, even when you have no funding.
To identify the strengths and assets at your disposal, sit down with a pen and paper and get to work. Write down the following seven headings: Experience, Skills, Knowledge, Cash Flow, Credit, Assets, and Passions.
You now need to think through each of these headings, listing under each what you have in each category.
For the Skills heading, write down any talents and learned skills you have. Some of these may be hobbies,things you can do, or skills associated with a job.
For the Experience heading, write down important moments of your life. These are defining chapters where you learned something essential. This could be traveling, an important relationship, or anything else which left its mark on you in a positive way.
For the Knowledge heading, list both your academic qualifications and areas of interest in which you feel you are particularly well versed. This should also include people you know who you think could help you – potential investors, business partners, or those you know with special talents.
For the Cash Flow heading, you should list what your savings and monthly income are minus your outgoings. Likewise, the Credit heading is for credit lines such as credit cards which are either open to you, potentially, or could be if you applied for them. A note of caution here; however, never borrow what you can’t afford to pay back.
The Assets heading should contain anything of physical value that you own, such as a car, a property, or that expensive guitar you bought that you never play. It should also include your available time per day, week, and month. Time is your greatest asset when used wisely!
Finally, your Passions heading should include anything you are keenly interested in and have a burning desire to pursue. This could be an area of study, a new hobby, or something you truly wish to incorporate into your life.
The lists that you just created are invaluable. What you have made is an inventory of your strengths and your assets. These are what you can throw at your business idea. But they can also help you formulate the idea in the first place, showing you your immediate options.
Contemplate this list, and add and subtract from it as your life changes.
Low Capital Business Ideas
Another way to start a business with less money is to focus on business ideas that require low capital. Some successful entrepreneurs start with these business types, make their money, and they are able to either fundraise or invest in a broader scope of businesses.
Low or limited business ideas assume that little investment is required in order to start making money. There are many examples of this, but here are a few to whet your appetite.
Service-based businesses involve looking at your skills, knowledge, and time resources more than anything else. Taking these into account, you can easily start offering a service via Facebook and other social media.
Services could include freelancing in areas like software, graphics design, and writing. Sites like Upwork offer ways to get clients. You can then build up your business over time and eventually expand to become an agency, outsourcing work to employees and/or other freelancers.
You could also try offering simple services like cleaning, washing windows, or valeting, for example. If it gets you capital to shape your life in a positive way, then be prepared to follow any ethical business idea that requires hard work.
Skill-based businesses are all about offering your skills upfront for a reasonable fee, and they can quickly scale to creating a valuable revenue stream.
Consultancy businesses make up another category you should look at such as the figure of an M&A Advisor that can help you when trying to get a deal done. Looking at the knowledge category, you can use this resource to offer advice to others. With effective marketing, you can set yourself up as an expert in your field.
Consultancy businesses include tutoring, coaching, and other forms of mentoring. Whether you are a life coach, a fitness trainer, or a math tutor, you can use your knowledge to help others and generate revenue at the same time.
The third and final type of no cash business you should consider is a product business. This involves a physical product that you sell to customers. Of the three categories, this is the most expensive.
Of course, most complex products cost a lot of money to research and develop, but there are products you can put together which require only low financing. For example, some products you are good at making with your hands.
Whether it’s wooden carvings, clothes, kids’ costumes, or paintings, look at your skills heading and see what you can physically make for a profit.
A great no-cost way to also start a product business is to be a reseller. You can sign up with reseller companies and then start offering their products through your social media and websites. When you make a sale, you will receive a small amount of profit.
Search for Funding
If you have a concept you believe is the next big thing but have no money to get it off the ground, an investor can help. When finding investors all you need to do is persuade them to share your vision! But that’s the difficult part, isn’t it?
Alejandro Cremades is a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Art of Startup Fundraising. With a foreword by ‘Shark Tank‘ star Barbara Corcoran, and published by John Wiley & Sons, the book was named one of the best books for entrepreneurs. The book offers a step-by-step guide to today‘s way of raising money for entrepreneurs.
Most recently, Alejandro built and exited CoFoundersLab which is one of the largest communities of founders online.
Prior to CoFoundersLab, Alejandro worked as a lawyer at King & Spalding where he was involved in one of the biggest investment arbitration cases in history ($113 billion at stake).
Alejandro is an active speaker and has given guest lectures at the Wharton School of Business, Columbia Business School, and at NYU Stern School of Business.
Alejandro has been involved with the JOBS Act since inception and was invited to the White House and the US House of Representatives to provide his stands on the new regulatory changes concerning fundraising online.